Herbal Supply Company fined for smuggling protected species
March 3, 2015 - Toronto, Ontario - Environment Canada
Carbo Herbal Supplies Inc., and its Director, Mrs. Qin Zhou, pleaded guilty on February 27, 2015, to six counts under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA), for unlawfully importing protected species of turtles and tortoises without the proper permits. The company and its Director were fined $12,500 and $6,250 respectively, for a total penalty of $18,750 and ordered to forfeit all items seized during the investigation.
Two sea containers originating from Hong Kong were imported by Carbo Herbal Supplies Inc. in October 2013 and July 2014. Upon their arrival into Canada, the containers were inspected by Environment Canada enforcement officers in Vancouver and Toronto. The first shipment contained 945 turtle plastrons (bottom part of the shell), 2,454 turtle shells and 52 bags of turtle shell fragments, concealed within 815 cartons. Similarly, upon inspection of the second sea container, there were 224 bags of turtle shell fragments among 842 cartons. The invoices accompanying the shipments did not list any of the animal parts. With the assistance of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, located in Drumheller, Alberta, parts were identified as belonging to five species of turtles and three species of tortoise, all of which are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
- The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement, which Canada signed onto on July 3, 1975, to regulate, or in some cases to prohibit, trade in specific species of wild animals and plants, as well as their respective parts and derivatives. Environment Canada is the lead agency responsible for CITES implementation in Canada. WAPPRIITA is the legislation used to implement CITES in Canada.
- Annually, international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and to include hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens. The existence of an agreement to ensure the sustainability of trade is an important part of safeguarding these resources for the future.
- There are over 350 species of turtles and tortoises in the wild. Of this number, trade in 123 species of turtles and 48 species of tortoise are regulated by the CITES. Parts and derivatives of these animals are often sought after for use in art or as an ingredient in traditional medicine, while live specimens are used in the pet and food trade.
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